Hong Kong is waiting for a kiss

February 08, 2023 10:19
Photo: Reuters

Is Hong Kong back on track after a month of reopening?

Yes, spring returns, and things are looking better.

There are more people asking for street directions in Putonghua but they are not lining up outside for luxury handbags.

Well, this is pretty much expected after Hong Kong had been isolated for three years until a month ago when it lifted the travel ban.

Hong Kong people are generally happier now that traveling has resumed. For those who are still not back in the air, at least we can plan where to spend the summer vacation.

Who still cares about the coronavirus? Well, most of us were not Covid-19 virgins anyway and all the bad memories of social distancing measures and vaccination were behind us.

Mandatory mask-wearing will likely be lifted next month when we can have face-to-face (not mask-to-mask) communication again, a true sign of back to normal.

With that, Hong Kong must catch up in global travel markets. The “Hello Hong Kong” campaign, which gave away half a million air tickets to welcome people from around the world to come, was launched last week with a bang although the wow effect would only be seen hopefully later in the year.

The initial response is slow, but at least it is a step in the right direction. Marathon, concerts and golf tournaments are back, which was reminiscent of “Hong Kong Welcomes You” after the SARS in 2003.

The local business is gradually coming back. The salary increase and bonus are on the way and businesses – most notably the service industry – begin to hire.

Stock and property markets rebounded. Hang Seng Index kicked off the New Year with a 10 per cent gain, the best January since 2012.

It outperformed most equities markets, as shown in our Mandatory Provident Fund accounts where we are HK$15,000 richer on average, according to MPF consultant GUM.

With more money in the pockets, the confidence is back, which is good news to the property developers who are looking to sell their projects.

Property agencies noted new sales of big-ticket transactions of over HK$50 million went up 67 per cent to HK$3.25 billion, a double from last December, according to local papers.

The home hunt for my friend was also concluded last weekend with a two-bedroom unit at a good location on Hong Kong Island for a price tag well below HK$7 million.

It is not a Snow White ending yet but the poisoned apple period is over. Now Hong Kong is waiting to be kissed.

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EJ Insight writer